TV: “The largest disease outbreak that we know of ever in the oceans” now hitting West Coast — Potential for “global extinction” — “Affects over 20 species… causing catastrophic mortality” — Expert: One of history’s largest wildlife die-offs… signal in ecosystem that something’s not right (VIDEO)

Published: June 16th, 2014 at 2:17 pm ET


Macleans, June 13, 2014: From Alaska to Mexico—and all along the B.C. coast—an iconic animal is disappearing. For reasons that remain baffling to scientists, starfish are dying by the millions, in the grips of a mysterious wasting disease that dissolves their bodies into goo. “I’d do beach walks along a 50-m stretch of shoreline, and count 500 or 1,000 of them,” says Chris Harley, a marine ecologist at the University of British Columbia who’s been monitoring sea stars (as scientists call them) for nearly two decades […] Revisiting one of these sites recently, he found a single sea star. […] “This is one of the largest wildlife die-offs that we know of,” [Seattle Aquarium veterinarian Lesanna Lahner] says. “It’s a signal in the ecosystem that something’s not right.”

Eugene Weekly, June 12, 2014: “The way the rate has accelerated, I don’t think most sea stars along the Oregon coast are long for this world,” says Bruce Menge, a marine ecologist with Oregon State University.

KUOW News, June 16, 2014: “It’s a lot worse than it was last week,” says [Drew] Harvell, a marine epidemiologist at Cornell University. […] “It’s the largest mortality event for marine diseases we’ve seen,” Harvell said. “It affects over twenty species on our coast and it’s been causing catastrophic mortality.” […] From what Harvell and her team see as they survey beaches [of Washington’s San Juan archipelago], there’s not much time for these starfish […] “My expectation is that within the next month all of the stars will die.” The team checked this rocky patch last week and found 10 percent of the stars showed signs of the wasting syndrome. Today they estimate that number has increased to more than 40 percent. […]  Harvell said, “This area has some of the highest biodiversity of sea stars in the world. We’re not just losing one keystone species, we’re losing a whole guild of stars.” And the stars here are what’s called an endemic species, meaning they only live on this shoreline and nowhere else on the planet, she explained. If sea stars are wiped out along these shores, there’s a potential for not just local, but global extinction.

EarthFix (Oregon Public Broadcasting, KCTS9, KUOW), June 15, 2014 — Drew Harvell, Cornell University: “This is the largest disease outbreak that we know of ever in the oceans. […] I’m expecting that in the next two weeks we will lose virtually all the stars at this site [in Washington] […] To lose all of them at once, we don’t even know what’s going to happen.”

Watch the EarthFix video here

Published: June 16th, 2014 at 2:17 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. TV: “Worst wildlife die-off ever recorded” anywhere on Earth underway on West Coast — Expert: “And we’re not just talking marine die-offs… yeah, it’s a really big deal” — “There are many more species that are getting sick” — “Facing possibility of extinction” — Scientist: “Is it some sort of a toxin that’s there?” (VIDEO) January 22, 2016
  2. CBS: This is really disturbing, sea stars dying by the millions on West Coast — Like the Black Death, only faster and deadlier — ‘Mystery plague’ affecting 20+ species — TV: Disappears from Orange County coast over 2 week period — Expert: “Largest epidemic ever in ocean… Something has changed in marine environment to lead to this” (VIDEO) July 29, 2014
  3. “One of largest mass die-offs of seabirds ever recorded” now underway on West Coast — Gov’t: “I’ve never seen anything like this, ever” — Experts: “Just massive, massive, unprecedented” … “Strong possibility of it escalating to affect other species” — “Significant uptick in mass-mortality events in marine world” January 23, 2015
  4. PBS: Plague along West Coast has biologists fearing extinction of species — Experts: Take your kids to beach and see them before they’re gone; Worst outbreak ever known in the oceans; Catastrophic losses nearly everywhere we’ve been (VIDEO) October 15, 2014
  5. Experts: Disease explosion in West Coast sea stars — “Extinction event” is pretty close — “Epidemic of historic magnitude… threatens to decimate entire population” of species in Oregon — Sudden 50-fold increase in recent weeks — Entire ecosystem could be disrupted — “We have no clue” (VIDEO) June 11, 2014

175 comments to TV: “The largest disease outbreak that we know of ever in the oceans” now hitting West Coast — Potential for “global extinction” — “Affects over 20 species… causing catastrophic mortality” — Expert: One of history’s largest wildlife die-offs… signal in ecosystem that something’s not right (VIDEO)

  • Crickets Crickets

    Another earthquake that should make the stability of the already-totally out-of-control and unstable situation even worse. We're so past the tipping point. Only a matter of time before, literally, all hell breaks loose.

    • OldFool

      TEPCO did not want to spend the big money to build a zeolite trench or any outer harbor defense, so of course little to nothing was done to prepare for the future. Even now, something worthwhile could be done, but they won't ever spend the big money. It will always be a day late and a dollar short. Well, what ever disaster happens next will not be unexpected.

      • ocifferdave

        Here's my starfish video I promised from the Oregon Coast taken two days ago.

        Captured during a three day vacation at Lincoln City's Sand Castle Motel (beachfront and under $100 a night).

        Video is upside down (it looked right side up on the iPhone when I took it and played it back the next day).

        Only found 8 living starfish and one dead on a large rock formation, all stiff and slightly movable. They felt normal. I would normally expect a lot more starfish (if my Juneau, Alaska, tidewater experience means anything).

        No gooey starfish found, living or dead.

      • OldFool, someone, someday, in some future may have to build that trench.

    • Cisco Cisco

      Another tick close by about 2 hours ago. Activity picking up here?

      5.3 95km SE of Shimoda, Japan 2014-06-16 13:42:23 UTC-04:00 136.8 km

  • I am not sure what I find more sad: the extinction of the starfish or the oft-repeated phrase, "For reasons that remain baffling to scientists…" and never a mention of the obvious elephant in the room.

    • digitalaardvarks digitalaardvarks

      just like the baffling lump in my breast

      • I am so sorry. Healing vibes your way.

      • digitalaardvarks, Reiki coming, too, as i type. You have any questions unanswered – herbs, alternative treatments, educating doctors, self acupressure, etc. or need energy work, please just ask. Too many friends, most of them breast cancer, myself a cancer survivor, not breast, and i've seen it all and been through much of it. Find me here sometimes or click on my posting name. I don't charge. You pay it forward or intentionally make the world better somehow by something you do. If you haven't already, i suggest getting to the library and checking Andrew Weil's Spontaneous Healing. That's for the head healing, getting your mind where it can best be useful for dissolving that lump. Peace, Vic

        • Runningonlove Runningonlove

          Healing be unto thee, digitalaardvarks. I love that name!
          Great advice, Radio, I'll just add one more.

          I had surgery for cancer just 2 months ago, and I wish I had heard
          of Dr.Coldwell earlier (I just found him last week)…
          it might have been a happier story. Anyway, I'm trying his simple
          formula now, to head off any re-occurence, I pray. Any natural,
          inexpensive cancer therapy that works is a huge blessing in these
          times of nuke contaminations and corporate medical obfuscations.

          • Also decontaminated the radiation with apple pectin.

            Google Phoenix tears.

            I'm just now also learning about DMSO. Don't know if you can get it without a prescription, but it seems to be really powerful stuff.

            We are in the post atomic age of cancer now. Especially after we have all been weakened by exposure to toxins in our food, air, and water.

            Wholistic health is so important now. But mainly, don't stress. It might all be over but all we can do is do our best and have some good times until the end.


      thinking the exact same thing, Kelly Ann Thomas…

      • nedlifromvermont

        several months ago an enenewser post on this site showed sea stars eat horse mussels … and that the horse mussels bio-concentrate transuranics like Americium and Plutonium (of WIPP stew fame) from the Fukushima plume at ten to one hundred times the rate of the other mussel species …

        but, Hey! what do I know? I am not some tenured university professor wonk with a research budget to protect and who is essentially paid to dissemble (lie).

        Another ooh oooh mystery folks …

        Couldn't be the radiation, could it? Naw. Nope. No way. Impossibileeee.

        peace folks!

        • OldFool

          Mack posted this list in Nov. 14, 2013, for test results from an island in Alaska that had residual bomb test radiation. It is so relevant I repeat it below. Note that horse mussels really bio-concentrate extremely well. What do sea stars like to eat? Mussels.
          * Cesium-137 — 3.854 pCi/kg in Dolly Varden fish
          * Cesium-137 — 5.312 pCi/kg in goose Egg no shell
          * Cesium-137 — 5.199 pCi/kg Gull egg
          * Cesium-137 — 8.094 pCi/kg Chiton
          * Cesium-137 — 4.981 pCi/kg Dragon Kelp
          * Cesium-137 — 2.365 pCi/kg Rockweed
          * Cesium-137 — 13.254 pCi/kg Greenling
          * Cesium-137 — .384 pCi/kg Halibut
          * Cesium-137 — 125.381 pCi/kg Horse Mussel soft tissue
          * Cesium-137 — 15.505 pCi/kg Irish Lord
          * Cesium-137 — 1.425 pCi/kg Octopus
          * Cesium-137 — .995 pCi/kg Pacific Cod
          * Cesium-137 — 10.216 pCi/kg Rockfish
          * Cesium-137 — 16.749 pCi/kg Sea Urchin
          * Cesium-137 — 25.254 pCi/kg Reindeer Lichen

          * Americium-241 — .008 pCi/kg Dolly Varden
          * Americium-241 — .106 pCi/kg Goose Egg no shell
          * Americium-241 — .05 pCi/kg Chiton
          * Americium-241 — .024 pCi/kg Dragon Kelp
          * Americium-241 — .024 pCi/kg Rockweed
          * Americium-241 — .098 pCi/kg Greeling
          * Americium-241 — .008 pCi/kg Halibut
          * Americium-241 — 1.678 pCi/kg Horse Mussel tissue
          * Americium-241 — .11 pCi/kg Irish Lord
          * Americium-241 — .003 pCi/kg Octopus
          * Americium-241 — .01 pCi/kg Pacific Cod
          * Americium-241 — .085 pCi/kg Rockfish
          * Americium-241 — .091 pCi/kg Reindeer Lichen
          * Americium-241 — .02 pCi/kg Sea Urchin

          • Angela_R

            and the, by now, hundreds of other radionuclides,
            do we even know how many…

            do we know whether for each one, there is a disease..

            Fukushima is only ONE of the problems venting

            Disagreement or additions welcomed on the following suggestions:
            observe the oxygen in your surrounds,
            observe the birds, observe the trees….
            put your 'canary' in your cage –
            use a potted young tree or two in your abode,
            during the day let it take in carbon dioxide and give you oxygen
            at night position it so it vents any discharge to the outside of your home.

          • OldFool, maybe you could you forward this list to the researchers. They don't all have this information. A short, polite cover letter about how we were all noticing that they had missed something. I'm half serious, so if you've got the gumption, i say do it 😉

        • We Not They Finally

          "horse mussels bio-accumulate… at ten to one hundred times…"

          BIO-ACCUMULATION is one of the most needed areas of education for the public. One prong of the mix of lies about so-called "low level."

          When people realize that the very BASELINE starts at a hundred times higher than they were told, then up the food chain at exponentially higher ratios, the truth might begin to sink in.

          But cannot help feeling that diversion and misdirection will keep keeping that education from happening. At the same time, far as I can see, everyone who does the diversions and misdirections, is as guilty of mass murder of species as those who perpetrated it directly. We help life or we help death. The time for in-betweens is way past.

    • Great sentiments, Kelley Ann, Great background image, too. Wow! Beautiful.

  • melting mermaid melting mermaid

    Elephantzilla. They think we are brain dead. Maybe we are. How can so many people be so disingenuous? Today I am going to pretend they are right and enenewsers are crazy. Living la vida loca. Peace out.

    • Speaking of brain dead, the Russian leader Vladimir Putin has just declared an eco-defense organization a "foreign agent":

      His policies are to use Russia's dirty nuke tech as political leverage to extend Russian influence into parts of Asia that are still uncontaminated by nuke industries. Vietnam, for ex. Incomprehensible the policies of world leaders in favor of the dirtiest, most dangerous, technology on our planet. They don't care if they destroy it–making big money and having political influence and or control within their petty lifetime is more important. Unstoppable doom machine.

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        Putin is a major shareholder in Russia's largest energy company.

      • clamshellernh clamshellernh

        USA will label us enemy number 1 once the SHTF. Been thinking about that all day . Hopefully they will be to busy taking care of their own dead .

        • wildandfree wildandfree

          Those that have the courage to speak the truth are always a target, we are a center point I think. Combine all that we see and hear here with the massive methane release in the Arctic and the truth is that we have crossed the tipping point. Have heard discussions that a nuke under Yellowstone will cure the problem by putting us back into an ice age, I wonder how many more targets are out there for the let'er to focus on?

    • @ melting mermaid – They are driven by unquestioning habits and darker drives rarely questioned. But, hey, it's always good to change perspective sometimes. There was some quote i once read, long forgotten, but that it existed i now remember, about not being able to go backwards very well once you start waking up and opening up your awareness. So, me? I play challenging hidden object video games. Now, where did i put that amnesia?

  • hbjon hbjon

    To be hit by something that kills off sea stars is worst than getting hit so hard that you see stars. Carl Sagan warned us but did we listen? Industrial pollution continues to hammer the environment. The wisest and best minds around us get tortured by this senseless and mindless promotion of life-ending, rank poison spewing, resource destroying, secret war prosecuting, evil technology that veered its ugly head from the aftermath of WWII.

    The Nazi scientists never tried to make a bomb, but they did succeed in producing a uranium engine. Who needs a bomb if you have a uranium engine, they said. Why do we keep agonizing over this? Answer….It was paradise and we're struggling with the possibility that this has become the be-all-end-all to the miracle of life on this unusually blue, miraculous planet that revolves around an ordinary star that is one of billions in our own galaxy the milky way. Unbelievable how there are people secretly promoting this death sentence on humanity and life in general. Peace to all.

    • "Unbelievable how there are people secretly promoting this death sentence on humanity and life in general."

      Yes hbjon————this is the greatest tragedy of the 20th c. and on into the current century. The engines of this destruction are first, capitalism– and second, get rich quick on the backs of everybody else.

    • melting mermaid melting mermaid

      Profits before planets, makes no sense. Yes radio, It's hard to jump out of the bottomless rabbit hole. Nothing to stand on. Sometimes I like to pretend that the news is news and the presstitutes and biostitutes have honor and the government cares and enenewsers are crazy, but it's the world that's crazy and our civilization, addicted to energy and money and power is locked in some kind of toxic, spiraling dance of death. Let's face it. We were warned. Scientists and activists tried to warn us for years. But we were more concerned with other things. Families, careers, being able to stay up late and watch mind numbing programming, whatever. Some people knew, that all this was unsustainable, that we would eventually hit a brick wall, but we went on anyway. And now here we are. We can't untriple meltdown or unwipp ourselves, that I know of. Clearly, I'm not an expert, but I think it's good advice to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. So, Tayatha Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Soha , or may you know the true reality, the true nature of existence and interdependence so you shall not fear. From Good Life, Good Death, Tibetan Wisdom on Reincarnation.

  • Sol Man

    The highly esteemed don't want to see the forest for the tree.

    • We Not They Finally

      Relate to your anger, but expletives don't help. Besides, those who perpetrate this aren't exactly "mankind" — human. It's the rest of us who are. So let us respect those who can still love, and help one another. The majority of people in the world today were not even born when the big lie about "atoms for peace" got started.

      Of course I want the guilty to finally bear the blame. Let's just not eff everyone, please! [with respect]

      • mutante mutante

        Just venting, I get pretty angry when trying to accept that a whole group of species are going extinct. I am NOT SPOCK!

        • HoTaters HoTaters

          Oui, mutante, and none of these effects of the actions of some humans are logical, either.

          Nuclear is one big fail.

          • mutante mutante

            I read your post further down. It sounds like it must be very hard for you to come to terms with thie starfish wasting away. I spent my childhood on the Jersey shores . I don't believe that I ever saw one. But I know that it makes me sick to actually see these innocent creatures just horrifically waste away to a pyle of goo. And I know that this is not something that took decades to occur. I believe that the extinction of all mollusks & crustaceans will follow, which will them lead to the deaths of all their predators, and the predators above those predators.
            I think this may be a fairly rapid sucession, at least in the Pacific.
            And within the acknowledgement of a dead poisonous Oceanside from Acapulco to Alaska, the rich will begin to sell their property. A

            • mutante mutante

              No need to go further with this… Obvious what happens next… Surreal, horrific, and a bad ending to life while having no respite from the universal guilt of man as everything slides into the unknown abyss.

  • Dick Shenary

    Enenewsers are crazy because they dare to use the "R" word. The inevitable great American lie of 60 years is falling apart. That lie is nuclear power is cheap and safe. The reality of nuclear power is dawning upon Americans. Nuclear power is so expensive that the taxpayers will have to fund plant decommissioning and sequestration for the next 250,000 years. The costs and scope of this undertaking are so high that it cannot be estimated at this time. As for how safe NPPs are, just observe what is going on in the ocean off the west coast. There is no doubt that radiation played a large role. How much longer can the insane nuclear proponents continue to push this mendacity?

    • Imagine if we killed an entire planet to sustain a technology that is just not needed at all:

      The West doesn’t need nuclear for energy independence
      The future for Europe and the US lies in renewables
      June 16, 2014 4:30AM ET
      by Paul Hockenos

      "In the past, critics of nuclear power went to great lengths to point out nuclear energy’s inherent danger. Consider the meltdowns at Three Mile Island in 1979, Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima in 2011, they said, on top of the untold number of smaller mishaps that never make the headlines. And then there’s the unsolvable dilemma of radioactive nuclear waste, which nobody wants anywhere near their backyards.

      In Europe these two strands of argument were enough to convince Danes, Italians, Austrians, the Irish and the Portuguese, among others, never to gamble with nuclear. Germany, Switzerland and Spain caught on later and are in the process of exiting nuclear power now.

      But these days the safety arguments pack less punch. Not because they’re any less valid but because the costs and financial risks of building new plants are so clearly prohibitive that nuclear power doesn’t make sense even if the safety risks were zero. In a nutshell: New nuclear power doesn’t pay. In fact, it’s dramatically more expensive than the newest generations of renewables (in particular, wind and solar)."

    • J.

      You are right that nuclear waste will be a problem for vastly longer than written human history. However, the idea of 'the taxpayers paying' though, is only one way of thinking about the monetary costs, and one that has been foisted on us repeatedly. Money is created from nothing, can be created from nothing and directed toward any real world problem — or funneled to a corrupt, criminal cabal, as happened with the 'too big to fail' banks. When people figure out how things work, the manner of financing solutions to huge problems will change.

    • My estimates for the true cost of nuclear, neglecting costs associated with disease, cancer, death, is 62 cents to 92 cents per kWH. And that is also assuming that there in no accident.

      Nuke is digusting, lying ego driven pimps of painful death.

    • We Not They Finally

      Dick S., just imagine if people could see the obvious instead of a barrage of propaganda! If nuclear energy was EVER cheap, then why would no insurance company ever touch it? Why insure it through the government, courtesy of the taxpayer? [duh]

    • nedlifromvermont

      @Dick Shenary and WNTF:

      Big insurance said, "No!"to Big Nuke not because it wasn't cheap but because they feared it was more dangerous than the GE promoters were saying … and they were smart enough not to risk their companies' capital on underwriting a technology with demonstrable catastrophic loss potential. They opted out on civilian nuclear power to save their companies.

      At the time the chairman of American Electric Power Company noted, "If an industry or technology is too dangerous to insure then perhaps it should not be allowed …"

      This guy was sidelined, so he was not able to be the hero we so desperately needed.

      GE promoted the Mark I, II and III systems without fully working out the hydrodynamic loads on the pressure suppression systems (a fault which caused the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Agency to discriminate against all types of light water reactors since the 1970's until now.

      So the Civilian Reactor Program rode in on a pack of monstrous lies, courtesy of General Electric's lobbying and marketing ability … a set of lies easily as monstrous as the pack of lies upon which the Nazis rode to power in 1930's Germany.

      The Nazi Lie: "All our problems are because of the Jews, who are different from us and inherently evil."

      The GE Lie: "Civilian Nuclear Power is a necessary and a safe technology which will prove cheap and abundant and save us from dirty coal."

      Germany renounces nukes because they have this memory: (cont.)

      • nedlifromvermont

        Germany knows at a subliminal, visceral level what can happen in a country where the government is involved in "selling a lie."

        Germany rejects the Big Nuke Fail, but lies downwind of the French program (inherently safer than the US program, but still not safe.)

        The American hegemon bumbles forward with pathetic insistence on the "marketplace:" apparently a strange spot where the public absorbs all the risk while the "profits" and illegal skimming all flow to a few criminals in the penthouses and corner offices.

        Greedy bosses at General Electric decided to bet the company and the entire planet on this ridiculously dangerous technology which they insisted on placing in flimsy containments, with control rod insertion through the pressure vessel from below, all the spent nuclear fuel stored above and to the side of the operating reactor, outside containment, by fudging the tests on reactor safety systems, in vessel and out, emphasizing computer simulations to validate a system with inherent design flaws.

        from Dale Bridenbaugh's testimony to the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, Feb 18, 1976: "It was recognized early in the program that the containment could not be found adequate under normal structural design criteria, since that amount of margin is not used for structural design." So they fudged the analysis using non-conservative assumptions and the engineers resigned over the fraud.

        The Daichi reactors performed and failed as designed.

  • The reasons lower-level government officials and some scientists don't recognize that radionuclides may play a role in the starfish (and other adverse mortality events) include the following:

    1. TEPCO's estimates of total emissions are gross understatements and do not include ongoing emissions into ocean and atmosphere

    2. Some people believe the propaganda on dispersion

    3. Many people believe dose-effects models that are bankrupt because they fail to address range of exposures, bio-accumulation, and other synergistic influences when predicting health and environmental effects from toxins.

    4. Chemists studying environmental effects are not typically trained in the properties and biological effects of radionuclides. It is a very odd disciplinary boundary: mostly only physicists get to talk about radionuclides and most of them aren't interested in genetics.

    5. Few people have followed the disaster and understand true scale.

    6. Anyone who understands disaster PLUS bio-accumulation/bio-magnification of radionuclides, tipping points, biological susceptibility, and immune suppression is probably too concerned about implications to risk panicking the population.

    The future is looking grim for our children's children.


      spot-on, majia. That post's a keeper…

    • Cisco Cisco

      Thank you for that Majia. Let's not forget the intentional obfuscation of all the other radionuclides that travel with the one being tested…i.e their old favorites, Iodine, Cesium, Strontium, and Tritium. Huge amounts of Plutonium and some other really nice actinides fissoned and aersolized about 100 tons when SPF #4 burned.

      Chances are better than good, you'll find Plutonium and the other associated horrific actinides traveling with whatever single radionuclide they are testing for, like Iodine, Cesium, Strontium, and Tritium.

      • Yes, public perceptions of the scale of the disaster are engineered by providing partial data on range of radionuclides.

        For example, this story from a couple of days ago only provides readings for cesium-137. What about the other radioactive isotopes of cesium? What about uranium and other radionuclides?

        NRA reveals cesium readings for seabed off Fukushima No. 1
        JIJI Jun 14, 2014
        The Nuclear Regulation Authority has disclosed the results of its fiscal 2013 research into seabed radioactivity off the leaking, heavily damaged Fukushima No. 1 power station.
        Ocean soil collected about 6 km away from the crippled power plant, run by Tokyo Electric Power Co., contains as much 2,000 becquerels of cesium-137 per kilogram. The half-life of cesium is about 30 years…
        … Cesium-137 was particularly high near the mouth of the Abukuma River, which flows through Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures. The highest reading found was 2,700 becquerels in soil 2.5 km east and 2.3 km south of the river’s mouth in Sendai Bay. But cesium concentrations in the areas did not fluctuate much during the year, the NRA said.
        The research, conducted by the University of Tokyo and the National Maritime Research Institute, covered a 1,000-sq.-km area off the Fukushima No. 1 plant as well as areas around the Abukuma River…

    • J.

      That's well said. Again, it's troubling that there isn't even the mention of radionuclides in the material. It isn't even considered. That's unscientific — even though they claim to have identified a pathogen. And even if that identification is correct, the influence of radionuclides, as we know, has probably weakened the stars' immune systems.

    • Also they are blinded because much of their grant money is from Fed Gov

    • We Not They Finally

      Majia, all you say is true, but honestly, the balance against all that has become common sense. If masses of people keep mindlessly tripping over lies, end result is that we all fall down.

    • Totally spot-on majia. In some fairness to the very compartmentalized sciences, i listened to a youtube interview of the fellow who developed the Gaia Hypothesis and he was advocating nuclear energy to deal with climate change, regardless of who was the cause, but, as part of the fix to reduce our carbon use. This brilliant, highly educated, thoughtful thinker said "NO one has ever died from nuclear energy besides Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If nuclear were so dangerous, we'd all be dying!" Helen Caldicott reminds folks that nuclear toxins are slow workers in the larger animals, and this allows smart people to remain ignorant.

      Majia, clearly you've given this list some thought. It's brilliant. But, more than brilliant, it's needed by all. So, keep that list and post it on your blog if you haven't already and keep as a current post. It is so definitive and concise. With a few examples and citations, i think you have another paper or book! It needs to be written. It really, really, really does. This list is WHY we cannot fix this problem. It will always prevent the solution. Please consider fleshing it out and writing it up? Ya got your chapters outlined right there already, you know way more than half of what you need, so your research won't take forever, and you can get your readers to critique online at your blog. When it's almost finished, start submitting snippets in editorials with a link back to your book. Ya gotta do it.

    • So, majia, i've copied and pasted your text into my text editor and saved it as Majia's book.

    • enufisenuf

      Insightful and informative. + a million, Majia

  • mutante mutante

    I am beyond just being sickened… I guess we just sit here until it's either too emotional to take or just practice rationalization for our fleeting existence as we see the world's wonderful wildlife species become extinct as if watching a line of dominos go down. What wonderful choices we have…

    • We don't HAVE to just sit here. Take a walk. Get the Rad Word Out

    • We Not They Finally

      mutante, that's all true, but I believe that when we stay aware, we are still better and higher than the hand that we are dealt. Our physical bodies seem to be just so much fodder for the criminality of this world, but the heart, mind and soul can still endure. Hard to believe, a struggle day by day, but it helps to know it. To keep our dignity in tact.

      • mutante mutante

        I am trying, but family & friends are thinking that I am a selfish madman for continuing to update them.
        It's almost time for a hermitage…lol… But where– in the woods with deer ticks & Lyme disease?

        • HoTaters HoTaters

          LOL, I hear you, mutante. My Lyme is in remission. Nearly killed me. The woods aren't quite as pretty any more. Lots of pathogens out there amongst the flora and fauna.

          No sea stars. What a thing to contemplate. When I was a child, I spent many, many hours playing in the Pacific coastal tide pools, and marvelled at the sea stars, all the life there. The tide pools were teeming with life.

        • Been there, done that! Mutante, few can cope with this info. Baby bites, always, for those just seeing things aren't quite as they appear or they will have to shut down. Total self care for you and no one gets far without some kind of spiritual development in this to bear the weight within ourselves. We must connect to the universe, to source to what made us, and take that in. It adds to the sorrow but it also adds to the strength. Vandana Shiva quote – "There is no despair if one is aligned with the power of the universe."

          She doesn't mean that we will win or even achieve the goals which we think are most important, but that the act and art of trying is what places us in deep connection with everything else.

  • timemachine2020s timemachine2020s

    Right now there is a whooping cough epidemic in California. Related? I think so. What say you?

  • dka

    it would not be complicated to test: several sea stars in a sea water large tank that contains radioactive elements: cesium, cadnium, plu, strontium and many of the other ones.

    • Socrates

      That's my idea. Pathogens that go from species to species of starfish may work on a weakened immune system but I would be cautious in a false attribution where the hypothesis can be tested in an aquarium.

      I studied bacteriology at UCLA and deal with medical experts in court. A lot of serious scientists are looking at the star epidemic. I does not act like radiological poisoning because it goes from species to species. It pre-existed 3-11 in some areas. The marine mamals are exibiting alopecia and other signs but the stars are different. The idea that all scientists are conspiring is a bit much for me. Even I would not go that far because of friends and relatives in marine biology and other fields.

      Echinodermata are unique creatures. I began their study in 1961 in biology. It is easy enough to Google these issues to learn about their special stem cells are regenerative properties.

      • Maybe the pathogen is activated by radioactivity, like the black mold in Japan? I have no clue. I am just profoundly heartbroken over the disappearance of the starfish and wish something could be done to stop this.

        • Shaker1

          I, too, think that the subtlty of interactions may be immune to our search in our 'objectivity', though I would hope some definite cause would be found and some useful answer to the dilemma come forth. But, as I've posted before, fill a room with a large number of bells of varying indeterminate tone, then strike forcefully just one of those bells, and the harmonic interactions may have them all ringing to some measure.

      • Hi Soc,
        Since low level radiation depresses the immune system we are likely to see exactly what we are seeing in my opinion. Bacteria and viruses that are normally unable to affect a healthy organism suddenly affect many. These can be existing bacteria that in the past have effected weakened members of a species, due to other reasons such as water temperature or other pollutants. Hence, what we will see are huge outbreaks of illnesses that used to affect a few members of a species who were weakened.

        When you step back and view all the illnesses and mortality among the many sea creatures, fish, sea mammals, and sea birds since 3-11-11, it's another obvious clue. I think anyone studying the sea star deaths need to also step back and view it as a forest rather than just one tree. Then, test for why their immune systems are failing.

        • What if…

          The virus' and bacteria have mutated so that immune defense systems may no longer work like they used to.
          (This is what I would speculate as to the cause.)

          So, INDIRECTLY the radiation is what has TRIGGERED the demise. A scientist then tests the dead creature for radiation and there is little to none. It's then stated that it did not die because of radiation, but in a real sense that would not be true.

          I know that the life cycle of insects, like a butterfly, is faster than larger animals. So they can show signs of DNA chromosomal damage far sooner.

          Since bacteria reproduce asexually, clone/split, it seems to me that if it's DNA is altered, the speed at which they split with the 'newly altered' DNA could be very fast.

          How Long Does Bacteria Live

          IMO – There's no telling what we're going to see. Only guessing.

          This is why a Nuclear Engineers biggest fear is an out of control ongoing meltdown that sits on a beach.
          (especially x 3)

          • I know that 'atomic gardens' from the 50's were a way to alter a plants DNA.

            Some results 'seemed' good. Like pink grapefruit and peppermint that we use today. If we can change the color of something, then it must also be possible to change the plant in other ways. Perhaps a plant that was nonpoisonous before, may become toxic. Or a good bacteria become a bad one.

            "I think one way that science has failed the public is by not making its results accessible, often with the implicit — even explicit — excuse that non-scientists somehow aren’t smart enough to understand them, which is self-serving tosh."
            – Johnson


            It's called mutagenesis. Now we just Genetically Modify it directly instead of the crap-shoot method.
            (ie.. GM foods)

            They only speak of the good things this experimentation produced. Seems like nothing is ever mentioned about any possible 'bad' results or side effects. hmm…?

            I also have to think about the insect and birds and such that were also exposed during these idiotic outdoor experiments.

            "It's not nice to fool mother nature"
            – 70's tv commercial

            Ironic now!

            • ChasAa, your link about the atomic seeds also brings information to us tat many are not aware of – that using the atom, exploiting nuclear radiation was seen by most as a very good and beneficial thing from growing gardens to skin lotions. this trust of the atom is inherent in our society and taught each day at universities who turn our future nuclear engineers and chemists. It''s not all evil doers trying to deliberately kill off all life on the planet for whatever scheme or agenda. Most people see the controlling of the atom as a step forward for modern societies and these old news clippings and archival footage show just how entrenched America's love of the atom was. No doubt that this attitude was promoted, but people from all walks of life shared this belief and exposed themselves to radiation in many forms. It was the growing effects of above ground nuclear testing that changed Pres. Kennedy's mind about the safety of radiation so he banned those tests and started making moves towards abolishing nuclear weapons, but, that concept is still slow to make it's way into our culture. Many in the military and the industry it back, yet, the message still gets through, if very slowly. This is a big reason, i think, more than secrecy and cabals, that we have an uphill push. Humans want to see themselves as masters of their destinies and of the world. Controlling the atom fits right in.

          • CHasAsa +++++++++. There was an article posted here about some researchers in SoCal believing they have found metagenetic changes in once friendly microbes now growing out of proportion within the gut of a sea lion or other mammal, i believe. This could point back to low level radiation being even more harmful, not just adding one more stressor on immune systems in already toxic brew of warming seas, but, just as you suggest – easily effecting one thing that then negatively impacts another. Technically an "indirect' cause.

            • Thanks for that reply Radio.

              The 'indirect' effect is what they'll never talk about.

              America was, hopefully not any more, enthralled by love of the atom. As a child I remember thinking that by the year 2000 we would have cars that ran on atomic pellets. Thankfully that never happened.

              Side note: (This is a new one.)
              I had a medical professional tell me there is a new illness called Adult Onset Immunodeficiency Syndrome. It's symptoms are like AIDS, but it's not.

              "Little is publicly known about the underlying factors causing the disease. Genetic factors are suspected, but the disease does not appear to be heritable. Also, something in the environment may trigger the disease."



      • HanfordOnHeart HanfordOnHeart

        The mussel hypothesis mentioned by nedlifromvermont (and originally by Mack in this thread: has been tested, according to the KUOW article:

        "Another hypothesis is that the pathogen could also be concentrating in the mussels and clams that starfish like to eat….The captive sea stars are kept in tanks of filtered seawater. In one tank they were fed mussels harvested from the rocks outside. In another tank the sea stars were fed frozen squid. The animals that ate frozen squid stayed healthy, while the sea stars that ate the wild-harvested mussels contracted the syndrome."

        The article cautions that the evidence is anecdotal, but it does seem to point toward the possibility that the sea stars' food source has become toxic.

      • Cisco Cisco

        Socrates…Thank you for your good work and expertise…always appreciate your comments. The GP is propagandized by the nuclear cabal and parroted by the corporate media that radiation is not causing these regional extinctions. Legally and technically that is an accurate statement. But, it is a half truth; because, that premise scientifically ignores what we know about compromised immune systems, their exposure to toxins, and resulting disease epidemics.

        Who ya gonna believe, them…or your lying eyes. Looks like a duck, fly's like a duck, quacks like a duck; nah, it's swan.

        Come on…WTF!!

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        Thanks for the comment, Socrates. Testing would be helpful, though. One has to wonder about the immune system issue.

    • We Not They Finally

      dka, that's probably true. But remember when it was said that people don't die of AIDS, they die of the diseases they get from weakened immune systems? At least AIDS was determined to be the unitary cause because much of the outbreaks happened in large groups pretty much all at once. And since a lot of it was in the gay community (since the epidemiology traced back to hepatitis vaccine trials of gay men in NY and I believe, LA,) it was a homogeneous group that facilitated political organizing.

      It doesn't take much detective work to see (in that sense,) the similarities between AIDS and RAIDS. But now it's the whole population, and we don't work and play well together in ANY case. And every reason why humanity cannot get any unity act together ANYWAY, will be to our detriment. Sad but true.

  • 21stCentury 21stCentury

    ~~~Build a Bigger Breakwater NOW Please~~~

    Better late than never…

    All nuke facilities worldwide need similar circular containment until total decontamination can be achieved.

    Yes, with proper engineering Fshima can be decontaminated..
    ..don't fight the water, it is our best tool for putting the monster back into the bottle.

    The splattered coriums can be dissolved in water and then be extracted, concentrated, then removed from the site in dry-cask for ultimate elimination from Earth.

    ..Yes, we do have the technology to do this.

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      21stCentury, would you please comment further on your idea for decommissioning? What's the technology you're suggesting, and would you please provide a link or links?

      • I'd like to see more data, too. Any reduction might give a chance and better hope. Is this technology available now or in the research phase? it is true that even filtering the water in the tanks extracts a lot of the radioactive particles, but, ten you have to deal with the extracted goo. And, the filtering systems clog and are down a lot, but, better than not filtering at all. Maybe they should also be planting mushrooms around the walter tanks and other hot spot areas while they are at it since we know from Chernobyl that these take up large quantities of radiation directly from the soil into themselves. Easier to deal with cutting and storing mushrooms than earth removal. We have a mushroom project going here in Oregon out of Oregon State by some students using them along riverbanks to extract pcb's and such. Brilliant young folks and a hope for our future.

        Finally, as we all know without having to belabor the point, many decisions of what route to take is determined by monied interests and business relationships as much as by technology. That silly ice wall is one such example. So, if we want something new that appears to have a chance be tried, then we need to agitate publicly on that – read up and share, write congress, write TEPCo and PM Abe, support resistors and nuclear educators, AND new tech that may offer hope.

        So, 21stCentury, please, great news if it is ready or even halfway ready and can you share more with us?

  • mutante mutante

    I wonder if it's possible for the marine biologists to gather as many of the remaining living starfish & temporarily place them in a transportable aquarium that has been properly filled with saltwater that has the proper levels of ph & alkaline. Then separate each starfish into it's own tank, which would be a form of quarantine. Then do extensive testing on as few as possible in order to save as many living starfish subspecies as possible?

  • Is it just me or did anyone notice that the dates for the last two paragraphs/articles above are for tomorrow June 17, 2014? I am sure it is irrelevant but it just seemed odd to me.
    Macleans is a pretty popular Canadian magazine; the fact they are reporting on this is a fantastic step even though they are not mentioning Fukushima it will likely have people researching and looking into they why's.

  • mutante mutante

    Rebecca I noticed it too

  • antipodes

    Pink /orange in the evening sky, every day after day week after week, and now month after month. West to East, North and South, in the clouds – the Great Smoky Mountains. Cesium 137 in the atmosphere? Still lots of wild life here though, Forests of trees, plants etc. for Life, Thankfully.

    • Donald Shimoda Donald Shimoda

      antipodes, perhaps it was your phrasing of "day after day" that reminded me of this part of a Pink Floyd song. It can be so frustrating that it seems overwhelming at times.

      One of My Turns (partial)

      Day after day,love turns gray
      Like the skin of a dying man.
      Night after night, we pretend it's all right
      But I have grown older and
      You have grown colder and
      Nothing is very much fun anymore.
      And I can feel one of my turns coming on.
      I feel cold as a razor blade,
      Tight as a tourniquet,
      Dry as a funeral drum.

  • “…we don’t even know what’s going to happen.”
    – Drew Harvell

    It's all connected. 😯

    We will all be affected by this. That's what's going to happen.

    I guess we're lucky Westerners don't eat much starfish, otherwise people might get upset.

    How to prepare starfish.

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    ..and then there is this basic starfish preparation.. we should all know. 🙁

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Patent! Calcium Carbonate
    Star fish

    The body wall consists of a thin cuticle, an epidermis consisting of a single layer of cells, a thick dermis formed of connective tissue and a thin coelomic myoepithelial layer, which provides the longitudinal and circular musculature. The dermis contains an endoskeleton of calcium carbonate components known as ossicles. These are honeycombed structures composed of calcite microcrystals arranged in a lattice.

    What is being released continually into the Pacific/world ocean environment?

    Ionizing Radiation 🙁

    • cooterboy

      obewan.. Your link;

      is profound. This is one of the most comprehensive and detailed examinations of the Fukushima disaster. I found it shocking.
      Thanks, this is a must read. This report flies in the face of those who believe radiation cannot kill.


    • HoTaters HoTaters

      obewan, you may be onto something. See this Wikipedia article:

      Note: "The dermis contains an endoskeleton of calcium carbonate." (See below.) Calcium carbonate is a buffering agent in water. If sea stars bioaccumulate sufficient radionuclides, might it cause a breakdown of their endoskeletons? So they just turn to goo? Assuming perhaps their immune systems are already damaged and they are contracting other known disease or diseases?

      " Body wall
      Astropecten aranciacus ossicles
      Pedicellariae and retracted papulae among the spines of Acanthaster planci

      The body wall consists of a thin cuticle, an epidermis consisting of a single layer of cells, a thick dermis formed of connective tissue and a thin coelomic myoepithelial layer, which provides the longitudinal and circular musculature.

      ****The dermis contains an endoskeleton of calcium carbonate components known as ossicles.***

      These are honeycombed structures composed of calcite microcrystals arranged in a lattice.[10] They vary in form, with some bearing external granules, tubercles and spines, but most are tabular plates that fit neatly together in a tessellated manner and form the main covering of the aboral surface.[11] Some are specialised structures such as the madreporite (the entrance to the water vascular system), pedicellariae and paxillae.[10]"

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      Obe, you already posted the information on the exoskeleton. Calcium carbonate is very important in skeletal formation. (Also from Wiki):

      "Exoskeletons contain rigid and resistant components that fulfil a set of functional roles including protection, excretion, sensing, support, feeding and acting as a barrier against desiccation in terrestrial organisms. Exoskeletons have a role in defense from pests and predators, support, and in providing an attachment framework for musculature.[2]

      Exoskeletons contain chitin; the addition of calcium carbonate makes them harder and stronger.[citation needed]

      Ingrowths of the arthropod exoskeleton known as apodemes serve as attachment sites for muscles. These structures are composed of chitin, and are approximately 6 times as strong and twice as stiff as vertebrate tendons. Similar to tendons, apodemes can stretch to store elastic energy for jumping, notably in locusts.[3]


      Many different species produce exoskeletons, which are composed of a range of materials. Bone, cartilage, or dentine is used in the Ostracoderm fish and turtles. Chitin forms the exoskeleton in arthropods including insects, arachnids such as spiders, crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters (see arthropod exoskeleton), and in some fungi and bacteria. Calcium carbonates constitute the shells of molluscs (see Mollusc shell), brachiopods, and some tube-building polychaete worms. Silica forms the exoskeleton in the microscopic diatoms and radiolaria."

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    From above Ionizing Radiation wiki link..lattices in metal must be much tougher than the lattices found in these poor little starfish. 🙁

    "Ionizing radiation can disrupt crystal lattices in metals, causing them to become amorphous, with consequent swelling, material creep, and embrittlement. Ionizing radiation can also accelerate existing chemical reactions such as polymerization and corrosion, by contributing to the activation energy required for the reaction. Optical materials darken under the effect of ionizing radiation."

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Released Manmade Ionizing Radiation must behave like Thor's Hammer when released into the ocean..

  • Angela_R

    "Released Manmade Ionizing Radiation must behave like Thor's Hammer when released into the ocean.."

    Obewan, I see Thor's hammer in the wild weather being experienced

    I may be mistaken but I think the director was Pluto, Thor is in charge of storms, lightning etc….don't know where they got the idea he was protecting mankind

  • rogerthat

    ''For reasons that remain baffling to scientists…''

    – for reasons that are baffling for stupids…
    there, fixed it

  • rogerthat

    ''there’s not much time for these starfish […] “My expectation is that within the next month all of the stars will die.''

    – our future is written in the stars

  • rogerthat

    some obvious questions:
    if horse mussels suck up lots of radiation, what about other mussel species? what about oysters?
    what other creatures eat them? radiation counts in rockfish are high – do they eat them? off the east african coast there is a fish known as a musselcracker which has several rows of rounded teeth to munch them with. what about people? mussels are a delicacy in most parts of the world, should people still be eating them? should people think twice about eating oysters which, like mussels, filter water for food? plankton is a huge bioaccumulator; should whales think twice about filtering the water for plankton? what is happening to the mussels and oysters along the american west coast? how radioactive are they these days? is anyone testing mussels and oysters? have they suffered die-offs recently? and so on.

    • clamshellernh clamshellernh

      And if the bi valves survive longer will they multiply enough to cause a problems like the zebra ones
      (fresh water Great lakes ?) , I am going on the assumption right now that starfish keep them in balance are they one of the biggest predators

  • clamshellernh clamshellernh

    Fukushima Disaster – Over 27.1 Peta-Becquerels of Cs-137 in Pacific Ocean Largest Ocean Contamination Ever | Enformable
    A French study released on Thursday said that the amount of nuclear material called caesium 137 leaked by Japanese plant, Fukushima, has proven to be the world’s worst nuclear sea contamination event ever, AFP discloses.
    The Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) reported that from March 21st to mid-July, 27.1 peta becquerels (a unit used to measure radioactivity) of caesium 137 had entered into the ocean. One “peta” becquerel is equivalent to a million billion becquerels, or 10^15.

    The IRSN stated in a press release that this is the biggest single outflow of man-made radioactive materials introduced to the marine environment ever seen or recorded. It will take 30 years for the caesium to lose ½ of its radioactivity, as it is a slow decaying element. IRSN also found large quantities of iodine 131, though it does not pose any threat due its very low 8-day half-life.

    The caesium, however, is a major concern to environmentalists. The problem with this hypothesis is that scientists have simply not seen such a large quantity of caesium introduced to the ocean before, and it can’t be fully known the long-term effects on the marine ecosystem. The group said that deep water fish, fish at the top of the food chain, mollusks, and other filtrating sea life are most sensitive to caesium contamination.

    The IRNS will maintain…

  • clamshellernh clamshellernh

    Link to above post

    Fukushima Disaster – Over 27.1 Peta-Becquerels of Cs-137 in Pacific Ocean Largest Ocean Contamination Ever | Enformable

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Cs-137 "is" Ionizing radiation! 🙁

    Poor fish.. 🙁

    • SadieDog

      "Sam Anderson, a UC Davis biologist and part of a survey team that visited traditional nesting sites, told ABC News that where they would typically encounter tens of thousands of breeding pairs of pelicans, there were only sparse numbers. Some nesting sites were alarmingly deserted.

      “That’s what we call a failure, a bust. The bottom dropped out,” Anderson said.

      Mark Rayor, who runs Jen-Wren Sportfishing in the Sea of Cortez, in Baja California’s East Cape region, said sardines and other types of bait fish are largely absent."

    • SadieDog

      El nino blamed for strange animal activity on west coast –

  • HoTaters HoTaters

    El Nino and radiation. Double whammy for marine animals in the Eastern Pacific this year & over the coming winter. The surface layers of water will be warmer than normal.

    Does this mean the water isn't mixing as much as normal? And will it mean radioactive substances will be more concentrated in the surface layers of water? And what will reach the coasts, become airborne?

    Thinking about all the uranyl buckyballs which will come lofting over on the Jet Stream during a coming El Nino event isn't a comforting thought.

    "2014 Typhoon Forecast: Another Active Season for West Pacific

    Succeeding a season with the strongest typhoon in recordable history, near-normal numbers are expected for the 2014 West Pacific typhoon season. However, the onset of El Niño will intensify the storms that develop in this basin.

    With roughly 28 tropical storms, 18 typhoons and 5 super typhoons predicted for the West Pacific basin this season,'s long-range forecast team foresees coastal China and the Philippines to be at the highest risk for significant impacts from either tropical storms or typhoons."

    • HoTaters HoTaters


      "West Pacific Typhoon Season Key Points:

      1. is predicting a near-normal typhoon season.
      2. The onset of El Niño will give tropical storms a better chance for development.
      3. While China, Taiwan and the Philippines will be impacted this year, Japan may experience more storms than the 2013 season.

      As five to seven significant impacts are expected for both coastal China and the Philippines, Japan will also need to remain on high alert as meteorologists expect more storms to make landfall on the island nation this season."

      Not looking great for the sea creatures nor for Japan, during the typhoon season. Lovely. Surf's up, time for a break. Better go program the brain with something positive before sleep. Don't want to dream about this or wake up thinking about it. Oy, vey.

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        The article states Japan can expect ~4-6 "significant storm impacts" during the 2014 typhoon season. I hope they're planning for that at TEPCO. Yeesh. OK, enough future tripping and doom porn. Time to enjoy a few moments and try to live a normal life for a bit.

  • jec jec

    Japan, probably due to lack of catching seafood in the ocean due to species going to start catching WHALES again. Sickening. They need to start deep fat frying TEPCO…

  • We Not They Finally

    What one thing do we all have in common???We are all children of Supreme Compassion…How does that compassion appear?Light.The ancient ones referred to Supreme Compassion…Since we all depend on what can be called the source…At the most difficult times we need to open ourselves to that eternal truth.

    Yes we have found ourselves in a truly difficult time.Please dont ever forget the source…There is no begining and no end.

  • nuknomore nuknomore

    Heart breaking.
    Our wonderful planet. The only place that we know of where life exists. And this is what man has done .
    We destroy ourselves. We destroy every innocent creature on earth.
    And when the sea is dead. So will we be.
    We can't survive either if the ocean is dead.
    I guess I'm too disappointed in man, too sad, too shocked that we are actually here discussing the end of life as we knew it. That there is nothing else I can feel.
    We are a STUPID species. And we have no right to claim the rank of the top of the heap. We are the lowest. The most vile for what we have done.
    Without us.The natural order of things would continue.
    We did this. :'(

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